Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Help still needed on tarpon study

making news

after awards, help still needed on tarpon study

Florida's tarpon anglers have helped biologists learn much about the migration and reproduction of tarpon, one of the state's premiere sportfish. The Florida Guides Association and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced the winners of the annual Spirit of Tarpon DNA Sampling Challenge.

Anglers who participated in the Challenge collected DNA samples that helped track the movements, habits and recapture rates of tarpon in coastal and inshore waters. The study, which has been going on since 2005, utilizes information collected by anglers who submitted samples and information about their catches using a free, easy-to-use tarpon DNA sampling kit. Nearly 20,000 samples have been collected.

Collier County angler John Manuel won the Grand Prize with 125 tarpon. Tampa Bay Times Captain's Corner correspondent Ed Walker claimed the West Coast title with 93 tarpon caught and released. Russell Kleppinger of North Miami won the East Coast category with 54. John Jackson of Key West took the Florida Keys prize with 74 tarpon samples. These anglers contributed to the 3,386 total tarpon sampled last year.

While a significant amount of information about tarpon in the southern portion of the state has been gathered in past years, researchers now need information about tarpon in the northern part of Florida. The 2014 Challenge will focus on waters from Brevard County and Pasco County north. Participants have until mid January to submit their samples. Winners will be announced that month.

Obtain a free, easy-to-use tarpon DNA sampling kit by emailing [email protected] or call toll-free 1-800-367-4461.

Compiled by Terry Tomalin. Send your news and notes to tt[email protected] or call (727) 893-8808.

Solunar chart


Minor Major Minor Major

6/2012:306:35 12:457:00


6/222:00 8:05 2:15 8:30

6/232:458:50 3:009:15

6/243:309:35 3:45 10:00


6/265:05 11:10 5:20 11:35


Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 fee...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

The flats are really coming to life in north Pinellas County. Our main focus this time of year is spotted sea trout, though redfish are cooperating and schooling a bit. Snook are also responding to the warm weather, occasionally eating on the falling...
Published: 02/18/18

Captainís Corner: Bait a challenge, but effort will pay off

Bait has made its way into the bay and is on nearly every marker. The problem: Bait is moving and showing up at different times daily. The time spent to get bait will pay off. Fish have been blasting pilchards. Snook and large trout have been communi...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18

Captainís Corner: Springtime fishing patterns moving in

The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18

Captainís Corner: Get an early start when chasing redfish

Redfish schools have started to invade the flats around Pinellas Point. On low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish will ...
Published: 02/13/18

Captainís Corner: Baitfish in the shallows improves fly fishing

Seeing large groups of pelicans diving and catching baitfish in warmer, shallow water is a sure sign spring conditions are approaching. The appearance of quality baitfish will spark a feeding frenzy that should steadily improve flats fishing for fly ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Captainís Corner: Action picking up as temperature rises

The wind finally stopped blowing so hard that we couldnít go offshore. Water temperatures were still in the low 50s offshore at the beginning of the week, and this affected fish behavior. Because the water was calm, we ventured out to the 80- to 90-f...
Published: 02/11/18
Updated: 02/12/18

Captainís Corner: Topwater plugs a great option as warming trend continues

Warm weather for the past week has led to an increase in feeding activity for inshore fish species. Speckled trout have been venturing out of deep holes and channels and back into shallow water to feed. This has presented a great opportunity to fish ...
Published: 02/10/18
Updated: 02/11/18

Captainís Corner: Sardines make a great bait

Bait has made its way into the bay and the fish have been eating sardines with violent strikes. Look deep for bait, most of it has been in 20-plus feet of water. A little knowledge of how to read a bottom machine will help you secure the prized sardi...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/10/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing conditions have started to improve

The waters are still a bit cooler than the kind a bunch of fish like to aggressively chew in. Fishing conditions, however, have slowly but surely begun to improve. On a recon mission Tuesday, I visited both Sunshine Skyway bridge fishing piers and th...
Published: 02/08/18